Blog – Business Goal

As we head towards yet another new year, you will probably be setting out your new business goals and plans for 2008. You will review many areas of your business, but what about your website? Like most business people, you probably don’t think about your website because you assume it’s doing its job, but chances are it isn’t up to scratch.

These days, websites are far more than an online brochure where your prospective customers can find basic information about your business. If your website isn’t creating real value for your business, it needs a serious overhaul to get it working harder.

Step 1. Assess the current state of your website

How does your website rate in the following areas?

  • Do you have a fully-functional business website?
    A fully-functional business website can attract clients to your business, increase sales and facilitate communication with your contacts. If you can’t do any of these things with your site, you probably have a brochure site that does nothing to get results for your business and you are missing out on the full functionality of the Internet.
  • Does your site meet today’s website standards?
    Your site should meet the essential guidelines established by Website Standards Association, including business purpose, internet marketing integration, latest technology and usability standards. All websites should also meet the coding and usability standards set out by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
  • Can you update your site yourself?
    Self-editing websites are now accessible and affordable for all businesses. Editing your own site will save you time and money and will ensure your site is always accurate and up-to-date with the latest information. And best of all, it is easy to do now so no technical skill is needed.
  • Are you capturing the details of prospects who visit your site?
    Many people that visit your site will not immediately make a purchase or contact you and if you don’t have some other way of getting their contact details, they will be lost to you. You should have a way to capture their details that is added to your database so you can easily communicate with them later.
  • Does your website content and look reflect your business professionalism?
    You’ve worked hard to establish your business as reliable and professional, but is your website undermining your efforts? The design, content and functionality of your website should match how you want people to perceive your business.

Step 2. Outline your business objectives

If you answered no to any of those basic questions, you are missing out on what the Internet has to offer your business and you should update your website. Before you speak to a web developer about it, you need to think about your business objectives for the upcoming year and how they relate to your web presence. Do you want to:

  • Increase sales from existing customers?
  • Attract new clients?
  • Create leverage (low cost/high return) with marketing?
  • Improve relationships with current customers?
  • Reduce internal administration time and costs?
  • Communicate more effectively with contacts?

Step 3. Research and plan

The next step in your website overhaul is to research your options. You need to brainstorm with your team to figure out what you want your site to do and review expert online resources such as Marketing Sherpa for ideas. Once you have a few ideas, you should create a plan for your new website, including designs you like and features your website needs. This will assist you in getting a quality end product from your website developer that meets your objectives.

Step 4. Meet with your website developer

If you are happy with your current website developer, you should meet with them to discuss the changes you want and your objectives for the new site. They should be able to build you a new site with all the features to achieve your goals. If they can’t, you should find a new developer that uses the latest techniques and technology of the Internet. Whether you stick with your current developer or hire a new one, it is a good idea to be involved in the production of the new site from start to finish so you can be sure it meets your business needs.

If you follow the above steps as a guide, I promise you the effort you put in here will be well worth it. The Internet is a powerful medium and every day we see businesses (big and small) maximising it and getting amazing results.

To find a WSA endorsed developer, click here.

Are you maximizing your Web Presence

The majority of businesses today use the Internet as a tool to generate leads and sales for their business. But most of them aren’t getting the great results that are possible with the Internet, because they are not facilitating the three key processes of a website –

  1. Attracting traffic
  2. Getting visitors to take an action
  3. Engaging in regular communication with contacts to draw them back to your site

You may think you have a great website, but is it reaching its full potential? Are you taking full advantage of your presence on the Web? In today’s competitive Internet environment, it’s not enough to simply have your site just sitting there, you need to be proactively making it generate results for your business.

Here’s how to do it –

You need to have strategies in place for the three levels of your website mentioned above.  These are the three key considerations for every website and you should be focusing on facilitating this process on your own website. If you aren’t, you are seriously missing out on the full potential of the Internet.

1. Attracting traffic to your site

Your target market won’t come to your site if they don’t know it exists or where to find it. So what are you doing to promote your website to your existing clients and to your prospects? You need to promote your website address at every opportunity to draw traffic to it, because the more visitors your site has, the more chances you have of generating leads and sales for your business. Here are some simple, cost-effective strategies for raising awareness of your website and attracting traffic to it:

  • Advertise in online directories – many people search for business using online directories, so get your website listed in as many as possible.
  • Use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques to get your site listed higher in Google – use keywords in important places throughout your site, get popular websites to link to your site and have an XML sitemap of your site readily available
  • Utilise paid search engine advertising – engaging in Pay Per Click (PPC) is a great tool for attracting your target market to your website. The best part of PPC advertising is that your business only has to pay each time someone clicks on the link and visits their page. If you are considering this process, make sure you research it thoroughly or use a professional
  • Promote your website offline – it sounds obvious, but you would be surprised at the number of business people that just don’t promote their website address in all of their offline marketing. And clearly, the more places that your website address is advertised, the more traffic you will get. Put your website on business cards, mail outs, signage, advertising and staff uniforms.

Check back next week for Step 2 – Getting site visitors to take an action.

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